Monday, September 17, 2012

Our School House


Deb: I think I have said before in the blog that New Year’s Eve never feels like a new year to me. The day after Labour Day is always my New Year’s Day. I think many of us feel this way. We have been conditioned through the years to retain those back to school butterflies that mean new opportunities, second, third, and forth chances to get it right, and adventure. I’ve long since stopped buying binders and three-hole paper, pencil crayons and protractors (yes I am THAT old), but the feeling of “new” never leaves me.

At this transitional time when the days remain warm and the nights cool down it takes me back to that time of learning. Would that I had craved learning when it was my brain sponge time, when every fact was soaked up and stored in my spongie brain locker! I wish I had yearned every day as I do now, to discover something new. I could insert “youth is wasted on the young” right now, but I won’t. I did of course have my passions—does Mad magazine count? But I wasn’t hungry for it like I am now.

So this year, as Labour Day (boy’s birthday) came and went and my butterflies returned, my mind was right in the pocket of the learning space. I was craving the classes, yearning for the learn. So although I did not go back to school per se, I did start to work on a children’s book, started ukulele classes, and am going to try to learn to ride a horse.

But more fulfilling than my individual pursuits is the fact that our house is the hall of learning right now. The whole house feels so creative and I am loving the forward vibes I am feeling every day. As you all know, the boy and his girl moved in with us and it is perfect and fun. She is in school, steeped in the world of academia that I always craved but never had. Watching her head out to the ivy-covered walls of U of T every day puts me in mind of Love Story and the ivy-covered walls of Harvard. The girl reminds me of Jenny Cavilleri in her cute little put-together outfits, her arms full of books. I sooooo wanted to be Jenny in that movie! More specifically, I wanted to be the beautiful student and musician Jenny, not the dying Jenny!

The boy, for his part, is working on resumés, while gathering his list of connections to reach out to, and formulating film ideas. They are at the beginning of their careers and it is so wonderful to see and be a part of it. My husband just finished his final edit of his book, his creative end to a year of work.

And not to be outdone, our dog, the Bairn, is in school too . We are training her and shaping her into the easy dog about town we want her to be and she is an excellent student. So I am teacher and student. In lieu of an apple she gives me a constantly wagging tail. School’s in session here in the Mochrie McGrath house.

And the miracle is, unlike high school, I don’t want to skip.

Barbara: It’s funny, even though I remember myself being pretty studious and into school, when I look back at that youthful time, I really feel like I wasted it, spending more time thinking about getting certain grades than actually listening to the lessons in the lessons. Since as an adult I’ve discovered the error of my ways, I love love LOVE to be in a classroom environment and to be learning. Another funny thing, without realizing you’ve been signing up for lessons here and there, Deb, I’m also looking into signing up for some. Not sure if I’m too late for this semester, but am crossing my fingers the little school house has room for one more open mind.

47 comments:

  1. Hey I had a protractor!!! I even had the one with the sliding angle finder :P

    I'm sure you're ecstatic to have a full house again! My parents were here this weekend; had a lovely visit. I miss them a little bit more each time they leave. :/

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    1. Yes Kelly I remember when we lived in LA and we would visit my parents. It was so hard to say goodbye. Awful really. I understand.

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  2. I so relate to your thoughts and feelings of this time of year Deb. I still get butterflies the first day of school......I did when my boys went to school and they still remain to this day. It sounds like your house is a wonderful din of learning activity and mutual support. I wholeheartedly support the riding lessons! Happy Trails! xo

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    1. Yes Jo, cannot wait for lessons!!!

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  3. Love Love Love it!!! So happy that you all are learning new things and that you're excited about learning. I love it when people see that they can learn at any age and not have to feel out of place. Education, in any of its forms, is for anyone and everyone. Deb, learning the ukulele sounds like tons of fun. And congrats to Colin on finishing his book up. Very exciting things are taking place at the Mochrie McGrath home, it seems!
    Barbara, keep us posted on what you decide to pursue in the learning department.
    Happy Monday, all!

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    1. Thanks Steph for those words of encouragement. It is the house of learn right now!

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  4. Awww Protractors!! I miss them too (Yes! I know How young I am ;]). Gosh you must having so much fun in your full house right now!
    I Dont really miss my school (my childhood wasnt the best you see)......I miss my sketching classes though. In fact I was thinking about this very thing yesterday. I learned so much from my sketching teacher. And He loved teaching me coz I grasped everything very fast. He still texts me sometimes and tells me he misses teaching me. Aww. And I am sooooo looking forward to my Arts course in Sheridan College.(Hope I get in....Still gotta apply!) Its gonna be a new and amazing experience.

    Oh...I gotta learn horse-back riding too. I forgot everything...Well I never knew it in the first place! I just rode this one horse, Diana, She was my best friend! And I just had to tell her where I wanted to go..And she would take me! We had this telepathic bond. She always knew what I wanted! Aww I miss her.

    Teeeheeee... I can just see Bairn learning! So cute! Same as you I'm a student...but I'm also a teacher. I teach LOA to anyone who is interested (you would know! and thats the only thing I'm good at ;]) And People like the way I explain. I really wanna get into motivational speaking....And I will! Just cant wait for that!

    And The book sounds great Deb. Colin wrote one too???? NICE! Whats his book called? Whats it about? Cant wait for all the three books...yours, Colin's and Barb's ofcourse! Keep updating us btw. And If you need some positive energy... I'll be here!!! ;)
    Have an AWESOME week people! Happy thoughts!!

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  5. Thanks Shalaka! Can't you take sketching on your own without school? you are so brilliant at it and would love that I am sure. Colin's book is called "Not quite the Classics!" He has taken the first and last line from 12 classic novels and re-written the stories completely! It is wonderful!!!

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  6. I think Ive heard about Colin's book... OMG He had re-written the stories completely???!?!?!?! Its gonna be AWESOME!!!! Cant wait! Sounds ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!

    Thanks honey! Yeah I thought about the sketching part... And I actually did learn a lot at home. But there are some technical aspects ya know....colour theories, anatomical accuracy, design... which I need to brush up so I can start making digital paintings....Well improvising my own digital paintings. And IDK I always wanted to learn Painting and sketching and sculpting.. Especially from someone Who's done it for a long time...IDK theres something about that classroom environment. Its really tough to get into a decent arts course here...So I'm coming there!!! *fingers crossed* Really hoping to get in!

    But I gotta tell ya I loved sketching on my own...Its BRILLIANT!! And I learnt soooo much when I was painting you guys! You are my best subjects so far. xo

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  7. Yeah Shalaka the book is great. I'm really proud of him. And as far as the painting goes, as long as you are still learning and growing then you are a great teacher for you.

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    1. Oh, that book sounds awesome! Hope I can buy it here somewhere, too! :D

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    2. Oooh!!! When is his book debuted to be released?

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    3. Soon guys! We don't have an exact date, but it will be out soon, maybe October!

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    4. I know Deb!! I love me! I'm a great teacher ;)

      OHHH...YAY!!! Cannot wait for the book!!! We are all proud of him! :)

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  8. Aaaahhhwwwww LoVe this! You heart home is full. And LiFe can be so GraNd!
    LoVe you.

    xoxo Sean'a

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    1. It can can't it! I owe you a phone call m'dear after that loverly message you left. I have not had a second! Will call later! xoxox

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  9. Sounds wonderful, Deb!

    School started last week here in Bavaria (we're always the last in Germany), and it is quite exciting, although uni starts in October, and I am sooo lazy at the moment.

    I should do things. I started writing on a book...and I shouldn't stop.
    I so want to become a writer...maybe I am lucky someday.

    Good luck with the riding lessons (I really need to ride again...).

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    1. Becki you are right. You so should NOT stop. Write that BOOK! Even a page a day would give you momentum.

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  10. Oh Deb...must be something in the September air as we all seem to be on the same page with the desire to broaden our horizons. I have always wanted to learn to sew...always...No big creative dream beyond being able to make drapes and pillows and the like but have nursed the desire forever. (Remember when you and I signed up decades ago for that introductory course and, while the reasons escape me, we never completed it.) Well my delightful husband has just brought me a top of the line sewing machine as a gift and I am determined to learn how to use it and finally scratch that long-nursed itch.

    I have attended the two classes that came as part of the purchase of a new machine. I am, at 53, the youngster as the women who are also in attendance are life-long sewers who are upgrading their considerable skill-set the better to turn out their incredibly complex quilts. It's incredibly intimidating such that I almost cancelled the first class but, swallowed my trepidation, and went. That that I lacked in skill I made up in funny. The other women were lovely and patient and laughed with me at my glaring lack of any ability. I'm gonna do this though...I've promised myself that...
    P.S. Give my love to Bairn and tell him I'm there for him! :)

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    1. Annette that is fantastic! Oh the things you could make!!!! Good for you and hang in there. I am having challenges too in the class but I keep going and practising and working at my very own pace undeterred! I will tell Bairn of your support but I will not tell her you said she was a boy! LOL.

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  11. Such fun facts today about your household and life Deb. I take painting lessons and I love learning new techniques. I like to keep my brain sharp and witty. As I get ready to journey for 6 weeks to Cape Cod, I hope to learn about a new region of the USA. Probably find many new adventures await me, I am hoping. Can't wait to read all the books as well. Glad it is working with the boy and his girlfriend.

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    1. Thanks Madge it is indeed working so well. Your new adventure sounds fab. TAke those paints with you!!!!

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    2. Paints are ready for shipping to Cape Cod. So exciting.

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  12. Well happy new year Deb! Looking forward to all the new reads coming forth from your family. Perhaps Colin's will be a good stocking stuffer for my future entertainer who is planning on a career in comedy. Your children's book will have to wait for my older boy, who I believe is the same age asyour Boy, to get motivated and find a Girl, marry, move out (we dream) and produce wee ones for us!

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    1. Therese it will be a great Christmas gift for sure. I think that's what they are hoping! Thanks for the Happy New Year! Made me smile! Grandkids. Want them but not just yet!!!!!

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  13. Sounds like an exciting time at your house. I think this is why, the older I get, the more I'm drawn to non-fiction. I've always been a reader, and I love good fiction, but there is so much I want to learn. The older I get, the more I realize that if something interests me, I need to learn about it or pursue it now, and on my own.

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  14. It is an exciting time at our home. Interesting what you say about non fiction and I see your point. I am a big fan too of biographies. I love to read about interesting lives and adventures.

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  15. Oh, I would love to be in school. Well I am in a school, but all the studying is done online. So one part of the whole process is missing for me.

    I'm a book fan too like so many others here. I hope I will be able to read all your books :)

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    1. Kasku I know what you mean, craving the ivy covered walls but you are in school none the less, right?

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    2. Yes, I can't deny that! :D

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    3. Oh, just remembered. I tried to take my dog to dog school to learn some basic training. I do have to say I had pretty smart dog. He did anything what I asked as long as I just stayed with him. He aced the one where I had to walk few meters and then call him to come to me. There were plenty of distraction, as there were probably 20 or so dogs. But he was just so scared I would leave him there, that he did everything I asked. I do have to point out, that all the learning seemed to go away as soon as we got back home...

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  16. I am adament not to be negative here.....so
    Very long story short, this may be the worst day every. I am so lost right now and just needed someone to understand. GRRRR.......Ok back to breathing......Now in keeping within the learning topic, lets just say I tried to teach my Mom and Gram a new way of looking at things and then got 'shoved in a locker' for doing so.
    I like learning on my own thou. Other people just get the way as I am no social butterfly. I love the atmosphere you described Deb. It sounds so light-hearted yet focused. Enjoy the journey of learning and teaching.

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    1. Kelly you tried. You tried with your Mom and Gram and you cannot be responsible for their reaction, only your intention. I hope the day picks up for you. You deserve it.

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    2. Kind words mean the world. Thank You <3

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  17. So here I am in the campus library trying to take a break from writing a research paper for my Death and Dying course; and the subject is school.

    I never thought in a million years that I'd be doing this again in my fifties. I can relate to what Shalaka said earlier because when I was a child, school for me was an escape from the violence happening at home. I didn't really concentrate because I couldn't. When I was college age I was literally living on the streets trying to find something to eat or a place to sleep. I longed to go to college to be like "everyone else" but it wasn't to be, at the time. Later on I got married at 23, became a mommy five years later and became a widow with two young childre at 31. I panicked and thought how will I raise these two kids on my own with a factory job? Someone suggested college and I thought how absurd I'm not smart enough for college. But I did it, got a two year degree and got a decent office job for fifteen years that I thought was secure. And now here I am again back in school and starting over again. It takes so much commitment and these kids treat it so lightly and have no idea how important it is to their futures. It's strange to be a student and an observer of the young folks here.

    When I went to the local Walmart a couple weeks ago and saw all the parents scrambling to get their kids what they needed for school I felt a little pang of longing for the days I did that with my kids. When you are in the midst of it you never think you're gonna miss that, the concerts, the meetings, the sports events, the plays and all the running around you did. But you do, very much. I know we've all said it here before but we really need to embrace and live in the now and be thankful for what we have.

    Okay I wrote a book again I'm really sorry. Deb congrats to you and Colin and all the happenings in your lives, enjoy it. Good luck with the riding lessons. I grew up on a horse farm I would teach you all I knew if I could but I know you'll do great. Keep repeating this mantra, toes up, heels down. Not sure if you're attempting English or Western lessons but keep us posted and take Barb with you. Okay must get back to my research paper, tough subject.. SIGH! Love and Hugs XOXOXO

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  18. Mary I understood every word you said here. It resonated with me and the way I feel about learning. You did not appreciate it when you were young. Neither did I. I have had the pangs too but learning has made them go away. You are to be congratulated for what you did with your life against all odds. Good for you. Good for you!

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  19. There are times I wish I could live in a house with the happy energy yours does, Deb. "This is starting. I'm moving forward. We're ALL moving forward!" It's the enthusiasm you speak of that's lacking around here...among other things.

    My daughter just started her senior year of high school. She's so busy, as she was this summer, that I hardly ever see her. She filled out scholarship applications with her dad. She made the golf team and, though I supplied the second-hand clubs my 2nd husband left behind, she went shopping with her dad for the shoes, gloves, balls, tees and whatever else she needed. The positive energy she's exuding isn't here, it's somewhere else.

    I think the toughest thing for me is that I'm always learning now, and what I'm learning is more of a "NEED to know," instead of "I WANT to know." How do I stay motivated to test my sugars consistently? How do I handle the sudden drops in mood after enjoying a high for a few days? (It's been rough the past few days.) How can I get BETTER with things?? Learning is on-going, and September doesn't stand out for me anymore.

    I guess that rough week is still hanging around. Bleah...










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    1. Always open to hearing about bad, good, brilliant, or shit days from you Dawn. And the truth is, I don't know. What to do that is. I guess I have always found my own way around it. And clearly you have too. Rough week will turn smooth. I won't say hang in there. But it's what I feel. Wish there would appear a new phrase. xo

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  20. Well if you won't insert it, I will ;-) Youth IS wasted on the young!

    At school, I spent my lessons passing notes back and forth, not really absorbing anything.

    Now, I spend my days wishing I had paid more attention. Because now, I find it all just fascinating!! History, philosophy, religious studies, science, psychology, spirituality - how it all works and connects and everything, it's just amazing. Why didn't anybody tell me this before?! Oh right: they did try - just wasn't listening.

    And funnily enough, it was Stephen Fry (presenter of that fantastic tv programme 'QI', among many other talents) who made me listen. Someone once said about him: "He makes you want to know more, just by listening to him talk". And it's so true. I'm so grateful to him for opening the door to ... not 'a world of knowing', but 'a world of WANTING to know'.

    So he really rekindled that fire of curiosity a couple of years ago, and because of this I'm discovering so many new interests. And taking courses and classes, like mindfulness, stress counselling, history and psychology classes and lectures, etc. Just to learn and - most of all - have fun.

    And the things you are planning to do just sound like the perfect combination of fun: creative outlet + musical outlet + connecting with nature = perfect!!

    Sorry for writing a book on the subject! (Please tell Colin he can use it/rewrite it if he needs another chapter for his own book. Although, looking at my first line, that might not be such a good idea...)

    Margo

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    1. Margo I loved what you said about WANTING to know! That's it, isn't it? Wanting to know. Yearning and loving to know. That's all it is really, the wanting.

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  21. I've seen Colin mention his book every now and again, and I always assumed he was joking... But now that i know he really is writing a book i can't wait to read it! I mean everything he mentioned about the book was funny and or ridiculous and that's just what i like :)

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    1. Garrett I am so glad you are interested. It is really fun and clever and just him. I will keep you guys posted on this blog! Thanks.

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  22. education? i've got quite a bit, but IMHO, if you stop learning, you're ready to pack it in & head for the other side. i'm not ready for that. je voudrais parler la langue français! and my book is already 169 pages long, even though i haven't looked at it in months. as for good news, i've got that as well. my boss, who i have been working for all summer (for lunches & bus fare), hired me just over two weeks ago. YAY! i'm a "Working Girl," just like Melanie Grffith! except my hair is red & there's no Harrison Ford in my picture...just as well, he'd be a distraction. and of course, being a type 1 diabetic, i need a cookie, so that's what i'm gonna do: GET ME A COOKIE NOW!

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  23. Here's a cookie Meredith! 169 pages, begging for more! Doesn't matter the last time you looked at it. If you brought it up here, you are still involved with it. COOKIE!

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  24. What could be more fun than playing the ukelele!!

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